Thursday, November 30, 2006

theistic evolution

In this position paper on evolution, Hank Hanegraaff, president of The Christian Research Institute, writes:
Under the banner of “theistic evolution,” a growing number of Christians maintain that God used evolution as His method for creation. This, in my estimation, is the worst of all possibilities. It is one thing to believe in evolution; it is quite another to blame God for it. Not only is theistic evolution a contradiction in terms—like the phrase flaming snowflakes—but in the words of the Nobel prize-winning evolutionist Jacques Monod: “[Natural] selection is the blindest, and most cruel way of evolving new species….The struggle for life and elimination of the weakest is a horrible process, against which our whole modern ethic revolts….I am surprised that a Christian would defend the idea that this is the process which God more or less set up in order to have evolution.”


Brian said...

I think we run into trouble when we either try to read scripture to understand science or presume that modern scientific inquiry has anything meaningful to say about God.

For instance, I reject the young earth argument. I believe the techniques used by scientists (such as Carbon dating) based on our understanding of physics can prove to some reasonable standard that earth is very old.

But say I didn't believe that. The techniques that scientists have used to develop computer processes also rest on our understanding of physics - many of the same general concepts used in carbon dating. Does that mean if I believe in a young earth (and reject the science behind the scientific explanation) that I can't believe in AMD and Intel? If the science is invalid, how am I writing this comment? How does my computer exist? My cell phone?

I think science can explain how our world works, but it can't give it meaning. I don't think the objective of the Bible is to tell us how our world works, but rather understanding our place in it.

John said...

Thiestic evolution, however distasteful it may seem, at least takes the findings of science seriously instead of dismissively.

JD said...

I am still unsure as to why Theistic Evolution is such a distasteful thought, especially with it being similar, if not the precursor to Intelligent Design.

I just wanted to say that I believe that the scientific method can ultimately help us truly understand God and maybe even, prove to the world, His existence.

My brain hurts to get into a bigger discussion about things, but to add a little more to it, I also believe in Gap Creationism, but that shouldn't suprise anyone if I believe in the other.


Jason Woolever said...

I'm currently sifting through the different ways Christians put God and science together. I was a little surprised to see Hank H., whose stuff I like, blast theistic evolution so hard.

Do you guys know, is theistic evolution the same thing as intelligent design? I'm not sure of all the terms yet.

Jason Woolever said...

I think they might be saying its cruel because it paints this picture of God allowing all these deformed transitory creatures just dying off like crazy in order to eventually crank out a healthy species. I really don't know why its so distasteful.

Anonymous said...

My two cents to the discussion.

Brief Overview of Scientic Method

I don't think Scientic Method as I understand it can be used to understand God. I think it would be an affront to the Holiness of God as the tower of Babel was. Also see cliche bad example from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, As its journey nears its end, V'ger has a crisis of faith, wanting to see the Creator and learn if there is nothing more to its existence than seeking information and bringing it back to the Creator. In this respect, it is an allegory of the search for God by humankind.'ger

Three things evolution / natural selection can not explain, it is because these things come from God.

1) Altruism - Giving to others with no expectation in return.
2) Holiness - Being in the world but not being of the world
3) Self Sacrifice - Laying down one life for others, Jesus laid down His life for the sins of the world.

James 1:27 (English Standard Version)

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

John 15:13 (English Standard Version)
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.

Let me know who is up for discussing how many angels fit on the head of a pin...

Your brother in Christ,

John Flores
Friso, Texas

John said...

Thiestic evolution and intelligent design differ in method of change. TE says that God used evolutionary processes to bring about his will; ID rejects this.

ID rejects the findings of science; TE accepts them and considers God to be their author.

Jason Woolever said...

thanks for the clarification.

Anonymous said...

When I hear this argument argue against the "cruelty" of theistic evolution, I always wonder if the writer has ever read Judges or remembers how Saul lost God's blessing as King of Israel. As C.S. Lewis was quoted a few lines down, not everything God ordains is tolerable from our perspective. Until a better explanation of the fossil record is advanced, I think we're stuck with TE.

Jason Woolever said...

anon, i like your point from judges and saul. it does kind of seem like saul was a transitory and slightly deformed peace on the way to David. i think that's an impressive parallel.